Irish hope to bounce back from disappointing start to season
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, September 14, 2018
Coming off a eighth-place finish in last week’s Badger Invitational, the Irish will look to bounce back and play to their potential in this year’s 2018 Northern Intercollegiate tournament.
This upcoming weekend will be the eighth-annual Northern Intercollegiate hosted by the Northern Illinois University’s men’s golf team at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
The tournament features 14 rising programs including defending-champion Marquette, Ohio State and Missouri. Last year, the Golden Eagles set a school-record score of 32-under-par for the 54-hole event.
Tournament play begins Saturday and ends Sunday with each five-man team along with 17 additional individual golfers playing 36 holes Saturday and 18 Sunday.
The Irish are hoping to rebound from their mediocre performance at last week’s Invitational, one that head coach John Handrigan labeled “disappointing.”
Sophomore Davis Chatfield shot an 80 in the first round, while seniors Miguel Delgado (+12) and Kevin Connors (+16) and junior Hunter Ostrom (+19) struggled to play up to par.
Although the team failed to meet the high expectations held for them going into the Badger Invitational, the Irish did manage to improve throughout each round, which is something coach Handrigan said he was pleased to see.
Furthermore, the one bright spot that came out of last week’s contest was the performance of Notre Dame’s two freshman: Taichi Kho and Andrew O’Leary. O’Leary shot 4-over-par through three rounds playing on the five-man team, and Kho shot 1-over-par competing as an individual. In round 2, Kho’s score of 3-under-par was the best among all Irish golfers.
After playing Sunday through Tuesday in the Badger Invitational, Handrigan gave the team a day off on Wednesday and returned to the links Thursday. With the Northern Intercollegiate beginning Saturday, it will be a short week of practice and a quick turnaround for the Irish. However, the team keeps detailed stats which allow the players to focus on exactly what adjustments need to be made.
As a unit, this year’s Notre Dame team has a set of goals and expectations they are hoping to fulfill throughout the season. Handrigan noted at the beginning of the season that the ultimate goal is to become a national threat, and after last week’s effort, the road to nationwide recognition begins Saturday at Rich Harvest Farms for the Irish.